I am desperately looking for help. My vet doesn't know how to help me and I don't know what to do. I have had chickens since May. I love them and get attached to them, they are pets, not dinner. We are frustrated and heart broken because they just keep dying. Following are the chickens, from where, and when died. 2 Black silkies and 2 RIRs (9 months old) from a zoo -stupid yes, I was new at chicken keeping and didn't know where to get them from. 1 RIR died after a month, wasted away. 1 RIR died at 13 months old. Developed a limp, slept a lot, didn't eat enough to keep weight up. 1 (our favorite) silkie died suddenly Christmas morning. She was 14 months old. NO signs of illness. Was eating and walking around one minute and fell over dead minutes later. This chicken did have genetic defects. Nasal passages abnormally small, often had trouble breathing. All 4 WERE Mareks vaccinated. 1 beautiful Gold star from a friend of mine. Died at 10 months old. Developed limp like the RIR did. Wasted away, very watery poop. Greenish poop hours before death. Not Mareks vaccinated. Vet necropsy done per my request bcuz I was desperate for answers. MANY tumors found throughout, mostly on intestines. All organs were ok including liver (liver often affected with Leukosis). Vet sent bloodwork to a university lab to confirm Mareks. Test came back NEGATIVE! WHAT is killing my chickens!?! I understand chicken loss is to be expected, but one every few weeks!?! The vet said that he is now thinking Luekosis OR some type of infection that got out of control such as clostridium. So if it's Leukosis I almost think it's worse than Mareks because there is no vaccine for Luekosis. When I thought it was Mareks I was living with the false hope MAYBE some of my chickens would survive because they had a Mareks vaccine. Now what? Are they all going to die if it's Luekosis?I am saposed to give up? A common thing I am seeing is runny poop. I have treated for Cooci here and there, so that shouldn't be what's killing them. Every time we add new dirt to our chicken run I see runny poop. My husband says he uses the tractor and takes brown sand from about 4-5 ft down so he says it should be dry and safe. - I'm not so sure. My plan is to spray the dirt with bleach a few times over the next couple of weeks, at night so the fumes dissipate, and rake through. I also ordered fishzole medication to treat them for clostridium. Would clostridium really cause tumors? Another issue of concern: when the weather got cold we started using a metal heated waterer (keep in mind we had the 2 RIR deaths before this, but there were no necropsies done). I noticed in the morning that the water had what looked like grease bubbles floating on the top. My husband cleaned it with dawn dish soap and he said there was a brown scum on the inside of it. I'm embarrassed to say I wasn't cleaning it enough. Even still after this I kept seeing the greasy water. I thought maybe it was the garlic I was using, but when I stopped adding it and cleaned it again it was still there. When I ran my hand along the inside part of the waterer it had a think grease like film on it. It seemed like the manufacturer lubricated the inside part with a grease material so the two parts slid together easier. But it must be safe because it's intended use is for. Animals... Right?? This whole process went on for weeks and I couldn't get the grease to come off, so after my silkie dropped dead on Christmas I refused to use this thing anymore. We now have a plastic one. What I have left: 1 original zoo silkie that is 15 months old. Doing ok, broody, and missing feathers because now with these deaths I have too many Roos per hen, but she has no signs of illness.......yet. 2 Mixed bantams one hen one roo from a farm- no vaccines, and if I have a disease in my flock I think it came from these two. I think they would be carriers though, I've had them since July and they show no symptoms. Ever... Not even the runny poop thing. They are 9 months old. 2 RIR hens and a silkie roo I just got 2 months ago. They are 11 months old, from a friend who got them from McMurry. One has watery poop I just noticed today, so I'm praying she doesn't die next. Is something horribly wrong with my soil? Does this sound like Luekosis and if it is will they all die? What would cause tumors on the intestines? Any help is greatly appreciated. I love my chickens, I try to spoil them and they mean a lot to me and my family, but I don't know how much more loss I can take or how many more years I can shed before I conclude I must throw in the towel. Help.... Please.